Spokane police arrested a woman Tuesday after someone spotted her 15-month-old son sweltering in a locked car outside Deaconess Medical Center.
Authorities say the boy may have spent nearly 30 minutes inside the vehicle before a hospital worker saw him and ran for help, Sgt. Joe Peterson said.
“The windows were barely cracked open,” Peterson said. “The child was screaming and sweating profusely.”
The mercury climbed into the mid-80s in downtown Spokane on Tuesday afternoon.
Temperatures inside closed automobiles can reach 100 degrees in about 15 minutes on such warm days, said Terren Roloff, a Deaconess spokeswoman.
Hospital security personnel used a tool known as a slim jim to trip the lock and rescue the child, Peterson said.
The boy was taken into the Deaconess emergency room to be checked out before being turned over to state Child Protective Services officials, Roloff said. He did not appear to be injured.
Security personnel then called police.
Several officers were waiting when the boy’s mother returned to the car, which was parked in a Deaconess garage.
A parking ticket found on the dashboard was stamped at 1:59 p.m. The mother, Olena Bezzubenkova, came back at 2:41 p.m., Peterson said. “That’s 42 minutes,” he said.
Police took her into the emergency room and questioned her for nearly an hour. About 3:45 p.m., two officers led the handcuffed and sobbing woman to a waiting patrol car and took her to the county jail.
Bezzubenkova, 25, was booked on one count of second-degree criminal mistreatment of a child and will make her first appearance in court today.
Peterson said she may have immigrated from Ukraine recently.
Police and hospital officials weren’t sure what she was doing at Deaconess.
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